Student Playwright Gets a Great Last Act

Story posted March 26, 2009

Lara Lom
English/theater major Lara Lom '09.

With the great stages of Europe at her feet, it might be hard to imagine why Lara Lom '09—a budding theater artist from Geneva, Switzerland—would opt to come to Bowdoin to begin her theatrical education.

That is, until you get to her final act.

In the space of less than two weeks—March 28-April 9, 2009—the Bowdoin senior will have a one-act play she wrote performed in the Maine Playwrights Festival. Concurrently, she will perform a demanding role in the theater department's spring show, Attempts On Her Life. Two days later, on April 9th, Masque and Gown will stage another one of her one acts, Disconnected.

"It's been an amazing semester," says Lom, dashing from class to a rehearsal. "I came to Bowdoin thinking I wanted to be an actress. I intentionally wanted to go to a small school with a small department. I thought it would allow me to do more theater than a larger school. And it's true. With time, I realized I love acting, but I've also discovered playwriting and film. And to have everything I've done produced ... It's great to finish this way."

Lom's one-act, Better, Tomorrow, was selected from among dozens of submissions to the Maine Playwrights Festival. The work is being performed March 28-April 4, 2009, at the St. Lawrence Arts Center in Portland. The story examines the differing perspectives on relationship and communication between a man and woman.

"It's not a linear play," says Lom. "The characters are not at the same place at the same time, but they are talking about the same situation and finishing each others' sentences," explains Lom. "The idea is that they're faced with this unexpected event and both of them deal with it in a different way. Stylistically, I wanted to come up with something that was compelling."

"The thing that is most special is to hear someone speaking your words ..."

Lom worked intensively on the piece during a Studio 305 class with Roger Bechtel, chair of Bowdoin's department of theater and dance. Bechtel, who also has an original play being performed in the Maine Playwrights Festival, calls her one-act "a really ingenious little piece, it's moving and a little enigmatic."

While Lom's role in Attempts on Her Life will only allow her to see her own play performed once, she has watched it in rehearsal. "I really liked my actors a lot," she says, smiling shyly, "and they actually thanked me for writing it. The thing that is most special is to hear someone speaking your words and to know they learned your lines. It makes you feel so good. My goal is to one day write a full-length play."

Lom may soon get her chance. Following her upcoming graduation, she will attend the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London and pursue her master's degree at King's College.

"I love theater," she says. It's just so exciting to do all of this."

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